Late night rescue for Coastguard Maraetai at Ponui Island

Two men survived hours in the water last night following a boat capsize in the Firth of Thames – rescued thanks to wearing lifejackets and an extensive search from Coastguard Maraetai volunteers alongside Maritime Police. 

At 2306 last night Maritime Police advised Coastguard Radio that two men, a father and his son had been reported overdue by a family member. The pair had departed Kawakawa Bay to the west of the Firth of Thames, in a three-metre dinghy at 1500 and were due back at 2000 hours.   

Police Launch Deodar III and Maraetai Rescue One searched from Kawakawa Bay out and around Pakihi Island and the Sandspit Passage using night vision and large spotlights to illuminate the shore. 

The Police located two men standing at the southern end of Ponui Island at 0023 hours. Police launched their tender to retrieve the men who were a little cold, but otherwise unharmed. Maraetai Rescue One then took the men back to shore providing them with warm beanies and jerseys for warmth. 

The men advised Police that after their boat become swamped and sank at approximately 1800 hours, they spent a number of hours in the water before managing the swim to Ponui Island. 

Coastguard Maraetai skipper Trent Dixon said both men were wearing lifejackets which undoubtedly saved their lives, similar to the ones him and his Coastguard unit wears. 

"This was a fantastic result considering how long they were in the water for. We received excellent information from the informant about where they were heading and what equipment they had on-board,” he said. 

"Working seamlessly together with Maritime Police, we are delighted to be able to bring the pair home after a long period in the water." 

For more information, contact: 
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor 
[email protected]

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